Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Americans Want Universal Healthcare & Bush Investigations

President Bush once completely dismissed 2 million Americans in the streets protesting the planned invasion of Iraq (2002) (and 10 million people doing the same worldwide) as a “focus group.”  He spent his entire presidency ignoring the opinions of ordinary Americans.  So far, President Obama, though far from driven by every poll, looks to be far more responsive to the input from ordinary Americans–to remember for whom he works.  I hope that continues:

The majority of Americans now say they want universal single-payer healthcare (Medicare for All): 59%.

An even larger majority (62%) want the Bush/Cheney administration investigated for possible criminal wrongdoing, although that is split between those who want a criminal investigation by the Department of Justice (41%) and those who favor a Congressional-led “truth commission ( 30%). I actually favor a blend of these approaches:  Use the congressional hearings, with some immunity deals for lower-level folks, to bring all matters to light, then have the Atty. Gen. appoint an independent special prosecutor to convene a grand jury for those who seem clearly guilty of criminal action (which, it appears to this layperson, would include Rumsfeld, Yoo, Ashcroft, Gonzalez, Harriet Miers, Karl Rove, Wolfowitz, Bush and Cheney at a minimum).  The hesitancy of some Democrats to pursue this matter is that investigations could reveal that some Congressional Democrats are complicit in some actions (Sens. Diane Feinstein and Jay Rockefeller come to mind).  But public pressure is building against Obama’s preference to simply ignore the past and concentrate on the future.  As Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) says, “You can’t turn the page until you at least read the page.”

Support is also growing (weirdly, faster among Republicans than Democrats–at least in Congress) for some form of bank nationalization (at least temporarily) as a means to curing the crisis in the financial industry.  And here the economists and the public seem ahead of both Congress and the Obama admin on the way forward.  Although leadership definitely includes needing to dissent at times from the views of the people you’re leading, I hope this president keeps in touch with the people instead of repeating Bush’s error of surrounding himself with an “echo chamber” of his own thoughts.


February 16, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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